Gather and Attach

Let’s continue with the sleeve fitting…I’m going to cut 2 sizes, one of the 18 and one of the 16 and play with them. Here are the two paper patterns:

Because I decreased the inner width and length by 1/2 inch from the 18 to the 16. I have added that half inch at the hem.

Using two different colors will aid in the final decision as to which size fits better. The right sleeve is blue and size 16. The left sleeve is pink and size 18.

Let’s do some long basting to gather in the sleeve cap.

Maybe you already do this 3-row technique? First stitch is 1/2 inch from the cut edge, then the next row is 3/4 inch from the cut edge, then the final is 3/8 inch from the cut edge. Why this sequence? Can’t I start with the 3/8 and work my way toward the sleeve?

Of course, you can do whatever works but using the 1/2 inch row as a base helps the next rows stay straight. The final row sewn at 5/8 will be sewn betweeen the 3/4 and 1/2 inch rows. Then after fitting into the armscye, the 3/4 row is removed.

Is this tedious…sure, but if you have ever sewn in a smooth sleeve or a gathered one and found the tiny pleats or rounded edge has a lump or folded over bit of fabric and you have to rip that area out and re-stitch…this will avoid that problem.

Next the bobbin thread will be pulled and gathered up to fit the armscye. Using a different color bobbin thread will help you remember which thread to pull to gather later if you put sleeves aside like I do. Or you can make yourself a rule like I did 50 + years ago…always run gathering stitches with the right side of the fabric up.

If these rows look messy to you, then end result will be a perfect 5/8 inch seam from the cut edge. I had to use my Janome Jem today as the big girl Elna was not co-operating with frozen feed dogs.

Here is the right sleeve hand basted to the bodice. It fits great with no extra fabric at the sleeve cap.

There is the 3/4 inch row of gathering that will be pulled out after the final machine stitching.

Just because we measured and compared the sizes…this “perfect” right sleeve is not on grain. The ruler is parallel with the floor, the gingham is not. Even rotating this sleeve would not work as the back fabric measurement has no excess.

The sleeve cap is off by 1/2 inch.

The left sleeve is the size 18 with an extra inch of ease but once it is also hand basted to the bodice, it hangs perfectly straight.

So it was a little test as to which sleeve would work best and the larger one looks and fits better. You really never know until to make a sample. Could I have messed with the 16 sleeve and added to the back and cut down the front…sure…but this size 18 can be used without all that extra work.

Now for a peek as other charity sewing done by our ASG members for the local Foster Parents organization. Besides making flannel blankets and book bags and drawstring pillowcases, the director asked me for some flannel burp cloths as they have children from newborn to 14 yrs. in care. Within an hour of picking up the new burp cloths, she got a call to come and pick up a new baby girl to be placed with a family. Here she is lying on the burp cloth.

They have 400-500 children in care most days so anything we can donate is very much appreciated. One of our neighborhood sewing groups produced what you quilters will be familiar with…Nine “I spy” quilted rolls to keep children busy looking for each little motif hidden on both sides.

Please experiment with your sleeves and take photos. Again, you will end up with a template for the sleeves as well as the bodice to place on future patterns.

Here is a link to an unusual quilt made from tapestries.

Hoping you all have a good week coming up and avoid germs! We have to schedule our next Covid booster shot this week. It isn’t over as one of my neighbors came home with Covid after a little trip out of town. Scary!

Thank you for following along since the beginning. I hope you were able to see some tips and tricks that will help you!!!

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4 Responses to Gather and Attach

  1. Sandra says:

    A thousand years ago when I was taking Home Economics in middle school (girls took Home Economics, boys took Woodworking, something my kids are always staggered to hear), we were taught to gather sleeves by stitching a basting line at 4/8 and 5/8 and then pulling on the bobbin threads. That didn’t work for me, and I resorted to stitching the basting line at 4/8 and 6/8. But the real eureka moment came (and I won’t say how long I’d been sewing when it happened because that’s too embarrassing) when I clued in that you don’t gather the 2 basting lines equally, but gather the inner line more than the outer line. That was a game changer for me. The other thing I do is once I’m happy with the gathers, I tie the bobbin threads together at each end of the basting lines so that the last few basting stitches stay in place and don’t loosen up before the sleeve is sewn in place. I will give your 3 basting lines technique a try to see if it further improves the smoothness of my sleeves.

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Sandra, as you pull the bobbin threads, you make a cupping of the sleeve cap. Tying the ends is a good idea for slippery fabrics!!! Now you may tie 3 bobbin threads together!

  2. JustGail says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen using 3 basting lines recommended, only 2 lines. And I got puckers more often than not.
    And IIRC, I gathered both lines the same amount.

  3. mrsmole says:

    With the 3 rows, you get complete control before the final stitching, also the gathering is more even. Just have to remember to slide the 3/4 inch row away when you are done.

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